Frequently this statement is attributed to moral issues, especially those that are now “protected” under the U.S. Constitution. The reality is, of course, it is also true in a host of other realms, including the business world!
If you own a business you can pretty much draft the policies that you will follow regarding employee relationships. And, the policies that you develop may not only seem appropriate, they actually may be so. However, holding a “strong line” might not prove beneficial to either you or your employee.
Hypothetical situation: You have established a rule that all employees must be at your place of work thirty minutes before the workday starts. Everything is going fine until Mass Transit changes the bus schedule so that one of your best employees is not going to be able to get there thirty minutes early, but rather only twelve minutes early. You obviously have the right to dismiss this employee and make them find another job – – but, is that the right thing to do? It’s not like they are coming in late for “start time” And, even if they were, is letting them go better than readjusting their hours?
The question now becomes, “How do we distinguish between what we have the right to do and what’s right to do?” The answer may be more simple than you think – – the best policy may be to simply adhere to the GOLDEN RULE – Do unto other as you would have them do unto you. How devastating would it be to you to lose your job because of something you have absolutely no control over?
This probably brings up yet another important issue: While businesses must be run on “absolutes,” there typically is a way to work within the parameters of the “spirit of the law” and not necessarily the “letter of the law.” When we, as managers or owners, encounter situations where we have to evaluate or re-evaluate the rules we have established, we must examine what we hoped to accomplish when we made the rule, and then determine if the business, and the employee, are best served by strict adherence, of if it would be better for everyone concerned to create the “exception” that makes it a viable rule!